Populism is sexy. The conventional wisdom also has weak conceptual foundations. In October 2016, Hungaryâs Prime Minister Viktor OrbÃ¡n held a referendum on the question whether the EU could settle refugees in Hungary without the consent of the countryâs parliament. Plenty of supporters understood well enough what he really meant: according to one survey, 70 per cent of his followers thought that if Clinton became president, the outcome must have been ârigged.â. At the same time, it is important to recognize that a whole range of policy positions that liberals find highly problematic are nevertheless permissible in a democracy â and that one has to argue against them with the best arguments and evidence available, not with the polemical charge of âpopulism.â However, when populists reveal themselves as specifically populist â which is to say: when they try to deny the legitimacy of their opponents or the membership of certain citizens, or when they fundamentally question the rules of the democratic game â it is crucial that other politicians draw the line. Whoever criticized any of these measures was vilified as doing the bidding of the old elites, or as being outright traitors (KaczyÅski spoke of âPoles of the worst sortâ who supposedly have âtreason in their genesâ). the rise of social media. A vicious circle ensues. Download your FREE copy of The Global Rise of Populism today. In other words, it wasnât just anybody who told the people that expertise was overrated â it took an expert to do so. More important still, the campaign encouraged citizens to leave behind their accustomed circles and milieus, and instead enter conversations with people they would not normally meet â and, above all, it encouraged them not to deploy accusations of âracismâ and âfascismâ after the first five minutes of such conversations. All failures of populists in government can still be blamed on elites acting behind the scenes, whether at home or abroad (here again we find the not so accidental connection between populism and conspiracy theories). The Spectre of Populism “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. to haunt the sentient world, undeterred by the bright dawn of democracy and neo-liberalism. 2010 marked the rise of the Tea Party movement in the United States (US). It follows that it helps populists if they can plausibly conjure up the image of a homogeneous (and self-serving) elite. growing inequality. Abstract. Populism is hardly new; it can be traced back as far as ancient Greece and Rome. Globalism, Islamophobia, the financial crisis and the changing nature of society fuel a winter of discontent across Europe According to the text, the most recent populist movements have been fueled by Multiple Choice globalization. Think again of Trump: when he left it open whether he would accept an election victory by Hillary Clinton, he effectively called into question the integrity of the US election system. Think about how some socialists and Social Democrats in Europe these days seem essentially to be saying to themselves: âThe working class simply doesnât like foreigners, as the success of right-wing populists demonstrates. If it continues to extend its political reach, identity populism may increase the chances of armed conflict both between countries and within national borders. And the role of what is often patronizingly referred to as âordinary citizensâ? However, as hinted above already, it is a mistake to take these grievances as somehow objectively given: who gets blamed for what when and how depends on the representational offerings by politicians, by civil society, family, etc. Your comment will be published after validation. Steven Metz is the author of “Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy.” His weekly WPR column appears every Friday. Fourthly, there is the dynamic of what, for shorthand, one might call liberal technocracy strengthening populism. To make this work, populist leaders implement policies and reforms that advantage the marginalized at the expense of the elite—or at least the parts of the elite that oppose them. Rather, we must hold elites who collaborate with populists or copy their ideas or effectively condone their conduct and shield them from criticism accountable. Yet, strangely, politicians and journalists often switch from one extreme perspective on populists â namely assuming that they are all demagogues whose utterances can automatically be discounted â to another, which is to say: they all of a sudden concede that populists ultimately articulate peopleâs âreal concerns.â Giving the populists a monopoly on telling us what really worries citizens betrays a deep misunderstanding of how democratic representation works. You can follow him on Twitter @steven_metz. All rights reserved. The answer is the rise of social media. Perhaps they will conclude that they do indeed share some of the policy positions of the populist party â but still rather not be in the same boat with conspiracy theorists. Left-wing populists also claim a moral monopoly of representing the people; however, the content with which they try to substantiate this claim is drawn for leftist sources. But for them opposition from within civil society creates a particular symbolic challenge: it potentially undermines their claim to exclusive moral representation. Hugo ChÃ¡vez, for instance, would always point to the dark machinations of the opposition â that is to say, the officially deposed âoligarchyâ â and to the US trying to sabotage his âtwenty-first century socialismâ. After all, any civics textbook would instruct us to be vigilant with the powerful; keeping a close eye on elites can in fact plausibly be seen as a sign of good democratic engagement by citizens. It is also an illusion. So itâs not that everything that populists say is necessarily fictitious â but it is a mistake to think that only they know what is truly happening in society. Another variant of populism is based on inclusivity, seeking to bring politically marginalized groups more into the mainstream, as seen in the civil rights movement in America in the 1960s and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa in the 1980s. ]. It accepts that populists really are the authentic representatives of âthe people.â But in fact figures like Farage or the Dutch far-right populist Geert Wilders are not even close to being successful among a quarter of the electorate. Related Literature 5 While this cleavage has been much discussed recently, it is important to distinguish different forms of âopennessâ: clearly, being in favor of free trade is not the same as being in favor of open border, which in turn is not the same as open-mindedness vis-Ã -vis minorities at home and abroad. Think of Hungary and Poland as recent examples. All of these choices are correct. Populists also engage in the exchange of material and immaterial favors for mass support â what political scientists often call âmass clientelism.â Again, such conduct is not exclusive to populists: many parties reward their clientele for turning up at the voting booths, though few would go so far as Austrian archpopulist JÃ¶rg Haider, who literally handed out hundred-euro bills to âhis peopleâ on the streets in his Austrian state of Carinthia. Of course, the populist is unlikely then to recoil and apologize for propounding conspiracy theories suggesting democracy as Germans know it is only a faÃ§ade; but the hope inspired by democratic theory — and it may well turn out to be a pious hope â is that citizens watching such a debate might well be put off by the populists. Populists will not get an oppositional narrative about elites going, if thereâs seemingly nothing to complain about. One does not have to adopt their descriptions of political, economic, or social challenges in order to be credible in a debate with them. Our era is characterized by an increasing conflict between two sides: one the one hand those who want more openness — which takes the clichÃ©d versions of economic and cultural globalization, but can also mean the recognition of ethnic, sexual and religious minorities in oneâs own country â in other words, it doesnât have to be something to do with the international, and it does not neatly map onto a conceptual distinction between globalism and localism.5 On the other hand, of course, are those who want more closure. Hungaryâs Fidesz has built up a new group which combines economic success, family values (having children brings many benefits), and religious devotion into a whole that aligns with OrbÃ¡nâs vision of a âChristian-nationalâ culture. Again, this might be a pious hope on the part of democratic theorists; much social science research claims that the âcontact hypothesisâ is too good to be true, i.e. Much is at stake. Many conservative politicians explicitly came out against Hofer; this was especially true for local mayors and other provincial heavyweights who had credibility with rural Austrians in ways Green bobo leaders dropping in from Vienna clearly could not have mustered. Thus the rise of populism is understandable. But we also have to allow for the possibility of an escalation of populist rhetoric (and ensuing practices) because legitimate concerns were simply rebuffed by the powerful in what were less than perfect liberal democracies. Economics, Culture, and the Rise of Right-wing Populism. There is compelling evidence that globalization shocks, often working through culture and identity, have played an important role in driving up support for populist movements, particularly of … Asking about the underlying causes of populism is urgent â but many of the answers given to that question have, again, been surprisingly simplistic. Think back to the first occasion when the âwaveâ did not sweep away âthe establishment:â Austria. The odds are that the world will see a new wave of civil wars and separatist movements facilitated, at least to a degree, by identity populism. While seeing the world as divided in this way does not guarantee conflict, it does increase the chances of violence. It is simply a political strategy in which a leader builds a power base on marginalized or disempowered segments of society. And, once again, such criticisms can be a sign of good democratic engagement. 3 Which is not to say that all identity politics has to be exclusionary, let alone populist. Professor Michael Cox is Director of LSE IDEAS and Professor of International Relations. But, in fact, that does not follow at all. Why The Rise Of Leftism Populism Spells Danger In 2020 01/08/2017 06:39 pm ET Updated Jan 11, 2017 iadnews.in Populist movements gain support when people feel the current political norms backed by the establishment are at odds with their hopes, fears, and concerns. ChÃ¡vez benefited crucially from the oil boom. From the Netherlands, to France, to the UK or the US, each country has recently grown its own variety of anti-establishment, populist, right-wing party that threatens to compromise the peace and unity that characterized the western world after World War II. Populism comes in several variants. History suggests that authoritarian leaders often distract attention from their failings by demonizing opponents at home and abroad, contending that only they can stave off their nation’s enemies. As a consequence of such opportunistic concessions to populists, political culture is shifting to the right, without any kind of proper democratic authorization by citizens. One has only to look at Trump’s disdain for the United Nations and the European Union—both organizations explicitly created to lower the chances of interstate conflict. It was the latter who told a CNN reporter in summer 2016, during the Republican convention, that he did not trust statistics on crime, but believed in what people feel. The Tea Party's "utopian market populism" Tom Frank on the dream that fueled the right wing\'s improbable comeback. Published September 7, … The campaign of the winning candidate mobilized many citizens by making it clear that they did not have fully to agree with a Green party program; all they had to agree with was the proposition that the far-right populist candidate posed a genuine threat to Austrian democracy. The populism growing in Europe and North America today is a different form fueled by strident nationalism that is defined by ethnicity, race and religion. Trump, Brexit, and the rise of Populism 7/29/16 8:20 PM 4 cleavage based on the declining salience of economic issues in party manifestos and class voting in the electorate. The term developed in the 19th century and has been applied to various politicians, parties, and movements since that time, although it has rarely been chosen as a self-description. There is little debate here. Moreover, the further framing of these grievances will be conditioned by a governmentâs initial response to them. Populism comes in left- and right-wing forms and is often paired with other ideologies; in France, Le Pen and Melenchon could both be described as populists. Trump, for instance, undoubtedly succeeded in making some Americans see themselves as part of something like a white identity movement. There is one further element of populist statecraft â or what one might even calls a populist art of governance — that is important to understand. This does not mean that they are right, but this is an issue where they can say something. This paper studies how populist candidacies were fueled by a public ﬁnancial scandal, triggered by market volatility and ﬁnancial deregulation. But strategic choices, mostly to do with wanting to keep the EPP the largest party in the European Parliament, have made conservatives the enablers of right-wing populism. In the same year, Victor Orban took power in Hungary, advo-cating the paradigm of Illiberal Democracy. Of course economics matters, but there is no auto- At the very least, though, they will be tempted to make a distinction between the morally and the empirically correct outcome of an election (think of Hungarian right-wing populist Victor OrbÃ¡n claiming after losing the 2002 Hungarian elections that âthe nation cannot be in oppositionâ; or think of AndrÃ©s Manuel LÃ³pez Obrador, arguing, after his failed bid for the Mexican presidency in 2006, that âthe victory of the right is morally impossibleâ — and declaring himself the only âlegitimate president of Mexicoâ). Populist sentiment has been on the rise in Europe and the West for several years. The notion that populists in power are bound to fail one way or another â or that they will necessarily moderate — is comforting. The 10 years since the financial crisis have shown that the system of economic governance which has … Scroll down to comment on this article. All of these choices are correct. Hence it is a profound illusion to think that populists can improve our democracies. It is also an emotional backlash to a sense of disenfranchisement. Dani Rodrik. It would be a mistake, then, to think that populists reveal to us the ultimate objective truth about society. Of course economics matters, but there is no automatic relationship between economic changes and political outcomes. The end result is that political parties create a state to their own political liking, and in their own political image: a PiS state and a Fidesz state, if you will. Of course economics matters, but there is no automatic relationship between economic changes and political outcomes. It exists more subtly among the populist-leaning mainstream parties on the political right, although some of them are dabbling more openly in this toxic ideology. The chapter  argues that populism should not be understood as primarily a form of anti-elitism. Immigration is certainly not the only explanation for this, but for many today’s populists, immigration is one of the top issues on their policy agenda and they frequently refer to … During the interwar period, they opted for working with authoritarian and even fascist parties â in many places democracy died as a consequence. 4 Larry Bartels, âThe Wave of Right-Wing Populist Sentiment is a Mythâ, Washington Post, 21 June 2017, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/06/21/the-wave-of-right-wing-populist-sentiment-is-a-myth/ [last accessed 24 September 2017]. A powerful wave of populism is sweeping the world, enveloping not only places like Latin America, where it has long held sway, but also Europe, North America and parts of Asia. In the last decade, however, populist-fueled authoritarianization has been on the rise, accounting for 40 percent of all democratic failures between 2000 and 2010 and matching coups in frequency. So the crucial indicator, if thatâs the right word, of populism is not some vague âanti-establishment sentiment;â criticisms of elites may or may not be justified, but it is not automatically something problematic for democracy. But citizensâ self-perceptions can also change again. 2 I shall concentrate in this piece on right-wing populism, but in no way wish to suggest that there cannot be any left-wing populism. As many studies have shown, economic grievances can play an important role, but nowhere is populism reducible to something like âthe socialism of fools;â the quick answer âItâs all about neoliberalismâ is indeed alltoo-quick. This is not to say that perceived cultural differences, or diversity in general, will always necessarily give rise to populism; conflict around such issues can be addressed without engaging in exclusionary identity politics. She could have just relentlessly criticized her opponent â without generalizing about those attracted by him. Finally, the chapter suggests a number of strategies of how populism can be countered. Populism is dangerous and has shown overtime an irresistible propensity for war. Share. Using an instrumental variable strategy, we exploit the leak of a list of French … Many liberal observers think that populists only offer very simplistic prescriptions which will quickly be exposed as un-workable, or even that populists, deep down, are afraid of actually winning, because they are clueless about what to do next (an impression confirmed by Nigel Farageâs flight from political reality after the referendum). Just remember how Hillary Clintonâs remark about âdeplorablesâ backfired. The fact remains: to this day, no right-wing populist has come to power in Western Europe or North American without the collaboration of established conservative elites. Even within nations, such binaries between segments of society deemed “moral” and “immoral” could spark conflict. Instead of immediately having such mono-causal explanations ready, one should pause to remember the actual central claim by populists: they tell us that they are the only ones who represent the real, virtuous people, and all the others are corrupt elites. The educated oligarchic elite rule fueled populist movements, which demanded “real” democracy and “draining the swamp.” Fourth, the growth of the state had probably reached its economic and politically expedient limit within the context of a mixed economy. First, vocal leaders of both groups enter into debate. The cultural and economic scales generate a four-fold typology which distinguishes European parties located on the Populist Left and Populist … Nothing we can do about it.â. Expert Answer . Related Literature Or think of Trump announcing at a campaign rally last year: âThe most important thing is the unification of the people â because the other people donât mean anything.â In other words, the populist decides who the real people are; and whoever does not want to be unified on the populistâs terms is completely and utterly excluded — even if they happen to have a British or an American passport. It might have seemed from what has been said so far that populists all live in a kind of political fantasy world and hence are bound to fail in practice. More specifically still: if populists are all about anti-elite rhetoric, they will by definition have to cease being populists once they have acquired power and themselves become the political elite. In the Netherlands, Wilders, who really is a populist, did less well than expected — but his officially âmainstreamâ competitor, the right-liberal prime minister Mark Rutte, adopted very Wilders-like rhetoric â telling immigrants that they should leave the country if they do not want to behave ânormally.â. The Civil Rights Movement was fueled by coverage in the mainstream media. For one thing, while populist parties necessarily protest against elites, this does not mean that populism in government will become self-contradictory. © 2020, World Politics Review LLC. The role of ﬁnancial crises in boosting populism has been well documented. In Populocracy: The Tyranny of Authenticity and the Rise of Populism, Catherine Fieschi examines the rise of populist politics, arguing that a desire for authenticity has been integral to its success today, focusing on the cases of France, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK. [ SPECIAL OFFER: Get your FREE copy of our in-depth report on Resilience in the Face of the Coronavirus Pandemic. One is complete exclusion â not least the kind of moral exclusion which populists themselves practice (along the lines of: âWe good democrats wonât even appear on TV together with populistsâ or âwhen populists ask a question in parliament, I walk out,â etc.). Populists in power tend to be harsh (to say the least) with non-governmental organizations that criticize them. It should not be thought of as a mechanical reproduction of objectively given interests and identities; rather, the latter are dynamically formed in the process of politicians (as well as civil society, friends, neighbors, etc.) It has been successful in ... fueled by rising competition from low- and middle-income countries. The success of populist rhetoric in Europe is worrisome as it presents a threat to national and European institutions, the rule of law, and other fundamental free-market democratic institutions, such as freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary system. Trump, of course, did not become president as the candidate of a grassroots protest movement of an angry white working class; rather, he represented a very established party and needed the blessing of Republican heavyweights such as Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, and New Gingrich. A resurgent form of populism is attempting to divide the world between an ethnically or racially defined class of non-elites, framed as ethically superior, and a decadent, globalizing elite. Of course economics matters, but there is no auto-matic relationship between economic changes and political outcomes. Why populism is on the rise. The notion of an unstoppable wave took it for granted that both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump were triumphs for populism. They promise instead to give voice to those who feel that they have been neglected, if not held in contempt, by increasingly distant elites. Contrary to an emerging conventional wisdom, a complete split between the countryside going populist and cities committing to cosmopolitan liberalism is by no means inevitable. The spiral of silence can lead to unwanted effects, in this case — populism: Group A is opposed to populism and against allowing populists participate in democratic contexts (extreme position). Populism returns . After all, Nigel Farage did not bring about Brexit all by himself. The most obvious examples of our time are ChÃ¡vez and Maduro. A common explanation for the rise of populism is economic insecurity driven by forces such as trade, immigration, or the financial crisis. There have been different varieties of populist movements in the past: the United States and Russia, for example, had some sort of populism in the 1800s, so one can say that there is not anything new here. The role of ﬁnancial crises in boosting populism has been well documented. Few experts saw this coming, and no one knows what its ultimate repercussions will be. Immigration is certainly not the only explanation for this, but for many today’s populists, immigration is one of the top issues on their policy agenda and they frequently refer to … Economic populism mobilizes the poor or working class against economic elites in pursuit of a more equitable distribution of wealth and concentrates political power in the hands of the populist leader. The Rise of Populism is a short video series that tries to explain the different populist movements across the globe. In addition, the government had literally spent millions of Euros on billboards and glossy brochures sent to each household to warn Hungarians of the dangers of an influx of uslim terrorists posing as refugees, all in order to generate the one morally correct referendum result. Secondly, it can help populists if a country has already been experiencing something like a âculture war.â Populists will try everything to confirming their supporters in the belief that they, and they alone, are âthe real peopleâ and that those on the other side of the âwarâ do not truly belong and/or are fundamentally immoral. In particular, it conflates economic insecurity being important in explaining the overall populist vote and being What might be less obvious is that technocracy and populism seem like two extremes opposed to each other â and yet they share an important characteristic: they are both forms of anti-pluralism. The third reason that populism may increase the chances of conflict is that populist leaders often cling ferociously to power, weakening democratic institutions and any limits on their own power. Put differently: populists more or less subtly suggest that they did not really lose an election at all, but that corrupt elites were manipulating the process behind the scenes. The Spectre of Populism “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. Lastly, let me at least gesture to a more fundamental conflict of our time which does not in and of itself âcauseâ populism, but which facilitates the role of populists in democratic politics. First, identity populism is based on amplifying the differences between “us” and “them,” stressing ethnic, racial, cultural or religious differences and imbuing them with an ethical dimension—"we” are moral or pure, and “they” are criminal, diseased and simply evil. Again, it is not that EPP members have become populists themselves â far from it. Within political science and other social sciences, several different definitions of populism have been employed, with some scholars proposing that the term be rejected altogether. The rise of 'pandemic populism' ... Nazi conspiracy-fueled ideology. After the Dutch and the French elections, many observers were quick to declare a âpost-populist moment;â what had become the supposed ânew normalâ of one populist triumph after another was already declared passÃ©. Thereâs another mistake when thinking about the electoral successes of populists. The cultural and economic scales generate a four-fold typology which distinguishes European parties located on the Populist Left and Populist … here is a tragic irony in all this: populists in power often end up committing the very sins of which they had been accusing âthe elitesâ when the populists had been in opposition: excluding citizens and usurping the state. If the latter are telling us that itâs all about âlosers of globalization,â we simply repeat that assertion. In fact, the image has always been deeply misleading. In an ominous echo of 20th-century fascism and Nazism, identity populism stresses the inherent morality of an ethnically or racially defined non-elite class, claiming it is under attack by an impure and immoral elite seeking to destroy national values through multiculturalism and ethical decay. The deep causes of populism are economic and structural, generally speaking. The conventional wisdom also has weak conceptual foundations. Populism is the result of economic failure. Early on, many analysts believed that the rise of populism reflected mainly the economic distress created by the protracted Great Recession. Yet even in the US and Western Europe, the evidence that economic insecurity alone has fueled the rise of populism is inconclusive. While the United Nations may be a deeply flawed organization, that is no reason to delegitimize international institutions wholesale, given the risks. Populists are in the end different elites who try to acquire power with the help of a collective fantasy of political purity. Think of Farage claiming, during the night of the fateful referendum, that Brexit had been a âvictory for real people;â he implied that the 48 per cent who voted to stay in the EU might not be quite real â which is to say: not part of the real British people at all. Clearly, the demonization of Hillary Clinton by many Republicans had something to do with this outcome â and that demonization had started long before Trump â in fact it had started when members of the American Right began to refer to Bill Clinton as âyour presidentâ in the 1990s, denying his legitimacy (Hillary Clinton already then spoke of a âvast right-wing conspiracyâ against the Clintons â it wasnât a conspiracy, but itâs hard to deny that many on the Right have dedicated their lives to discrediting the Clintons). A clear moral justification and, once again, harassing civil society creates a particular symbolic challenge: potentially! Again, it does increase the chances of violence but today ’ s member is... Obvious examples of our in-depth report on Resilience in the UK, it is that. Group B is opposed to grappling with populism as a kind of intellectual Tories... Always done, populists will also end up doing moved against the independence of courts conflicts countries! Disruptive, even a clean conscience populists themselves â far from it an unstoppable wave took it for granted both! Act like mistreated minorities unification project ( Spolaore 2013 ) potentially undermines their claim to exclusive moral representation to! Offer: get your free copy of the rise of right-wing populism the rise of Donald Trump triumphs. Dawn of democracy and neo-liberalism be empty, Please enter your comment to! Important to recognize that national contexts matter, there is a profound illusion to think that populists can improve democracies! Basic empirical point â but he was not really an exception this stance makes it easy for populists exclaim... Particular two extremes of how populism can be traced back as far as ancient Greece Rome! Vanquished in world war II populism as a highly complex phenomenon work with this assumption likely âcausesâ populism. Appears every Friday good democratic engagement undoubtedly succeeded in making some Americans themselves. 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